Frequently Asked Questions: Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations

The FAQs below are meant to provide Canadians and businesses with general information about the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's regulations.

1. What is the purpose of these regulations?

The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations, under the authority of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, regulate the consistency, completeness, and accuracy of the labelling and packaging of consumer goods. These regulations create a uniform method for the labelling and packaging of consumer goods to assist consumers in making informed choices in the marketplace. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for the administration and enforcement of these regulations as they relate to food.

2. What are the key elements of these regulations as they relate to the mandate of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency?

Sections 3 to 6: provide exemptions from specific sections of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and establish bilingual labelling requirements and related exemptions for certain prepackaged products. Defines "local products" and "test market products" and provides for their exemption.

Sections 7 to 23: provide requirements for the labelling of prepackaged products, and the format and information to be contained on those labels. A declaration of net quantity and the manner of declaration are outlined. Exemptions from these requirements for certain products are also provided.

Sections 24 to 27: provide unit of measurement marking requirements.

Sections 28 to 31: set out requirements for prepackaged products consisting of products packaged separately (i.e. products that are sold as one unit but consists of two or more products that are packaged separately), advertisement of net quantities, and naming of prepackaged products.

Section 32: provides an exemption for prepackaged fresh fruit and vegetables from subparagraphs 10(b)(i) and (ii) of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act which require that certain information be included on labels.

Sections 33 to 37: set out requirements for the representation of the number of servings on edible or potable prepackaged products, pictorial representations on food labels, container sizes for specific products, and capacities for receptacles.

Sections 38 to 40: set out tolerances for prepackaged products that cannot normally be proportioned and as a result are usually sold in varying quantities. Also set out are requirements for the examination and inspection of the quantity of a prepackaged product.

Schedule I: sets out tolerances for specific declared net quantities.

Schedule II: sets out requirements for sampling including the number of units, the formula for determining the weighted average quantity of units in a sample, and the minimum number of units.

3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

These regulations provide for a fair and competitive marketplace as deceptive labelling or advertising practices are prohibited. Canadian businesses must ensure that the packaging and labelling of their products meet the appropriate requirements for bilingual labelling, type size (height) of information, manner of declaring the net quantity, pictorial representations and standardization of container sizes. They also list the different exemptions from the labelling requirements set out in the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and provide businesses with the tolerances permitted on net quantity declarations.

4. When did these regulations come into force?

The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations came into force on March 1, 1974.

5. Where can I get more information?

Please refer to the Labelling section of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's website for more information.

Further information on the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations is also available under the Labels and Advertising section of Industry Canada's website.

Questions relating to the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations may be directed to the Labelling Specialists at the CFIA regional office.

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